Interview: Isak Gifting – I’d like to win the MX2 World Championship
Since joining the DIGA Procross GASGAS Factory Racing team in September 2020, Isak Gifting did little else other than impress with some amazing results on our lightning-fast MC 250F. We might have given him a leg up into the MX2 World Championship, but the Swedish racer seized his opportunity, returning the favour with incredible speed at every round. And reaching the podium on two occasions! Now, with a full off-season of preparation under his belt, Isak’s never been better prepared to go racing. We recently caught up with one of the hottest prospects in the MX2 class ahead of the opening round of the 2021 season, enjoy!
Isak, we’re just a few days away from round one of the MX2 World Championship now. How’s it going, how are you feeling, and have you been learning any Russian?
Isak: “It’s all really good, but I’ve not learned any Russian! My preparation has been great. It’s been a long winter and then the series was delayed, but as round one got closer and closer, I’ve been feeling better and better on the bike. It’s given me time to develop the bike a little bit more and I feel mentally and physically strong. At the moment, everything is positive.”
It’s hard to believe, but this winter was your first off-season as part of not just a factory team, but of any team! What’s been the biggest benefit to you, being part of DIGA Procross GASGAS Factory Racing ahead of the 2021 season?
“It’s been a huge difference. The support, materials, the whole team, testing. It’s been a big change but one that I really needed. When I joined the team, I went racing straight away with a good set-up but not one that was developed for me. It was a great base setting, but I’ve now had time with the team to work together and get really comfortable on the bike. I also have a trainer, Joel Smets, in my corner as well, which has made my conditioning the best it can be.”
You joined the team in September 2020 and immediately put together an impressive run of results. Was joining DIGA Procross the missing part of the puzzle, that thing that allowed you to reach the next level in your career?
“I would definitely say so. I just needed that chance to join a team. When I got it, I knew that I had to work hard, keep focused, and then the results would come. The opportunity came at just the right time and I’m really thankful that I was approached by this team.”
The 2021 season is going to be really long, and your first full year in the MX2 World Championship. Do you feel ready physically, will you be all guns blazing from round one?
“Being able to work with Joel has been really positive with my approach and conditioning for this season. We pushed really hard in the winter, but now it’s a case of maintaining what I have. We train in certain ways to maintain my fitness, but should I need to push a little bit harder at any time, then I will be able to.”
Your home GP in Sweden will take place in August. Do you enjoy the boost of a home crowd, or is it just another race to you?
“I’ve raced in the EMX250 class at Uddevalla and the support was amazing. I really hope that we can have fans there for my first MX2 GP in Sweden. For sure the fans give you a boost and you perform just that little but better. I really hope there is a big crowd for that one. I know that many people will come if it’s allowed. So yeah, I’m looking forward to that one the most.”
It’s still early days as far as your career goes, and we’re guessing going all-in to try and win the 2021 MX2 title is the number one goal right now. But where do you see yourself in three, maybe 10 years’ time?
“Well, for sure I’d like to win the MX2 World Championship (GASGAS: this year please, Isak!). It’s easy to say, but I feel mentally and physically strong enough to get it done. After that, I think I can be a great MXGP class rider too. I know I’m strong, and I’ve been working on my technique a lot to be a smarter racer, which will help when I move up to the 450.”
Finally, it’s the end of the season and you’re on vacation, relaxing on a beach some place after months of bar-to-bar racing and being on the road. What will you consider to have been a ‘good season’?
“Everyone wants to be world champion, but I know that 2021 will be a learning season and I have to be realistic. It will be a building year, and I know I can develop my riding further. I proved last year that I can podium, so this gives me a lot of confidence. I’m definitely ready for the next step and I think that on the sand tracks, my ability is a little better and I can push for wins. Having said that, it’s my first full season in MX2 so there is no pressure. I just need to be consistent, be in the top 10 each moto and see where we end up. I know what I can do so it’s just a case of putting it all together in each race and I think I can finish the season in a good position overall. I believe that top eight is an achievable goal for my first full season and if I can accomplish that then going into 2022 I’ll be in a really good place.”
Words and pic: GasGas